Definition or Just Words

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These past months I’ve been reading the Christ Object Lesson of E.G.White and came across on many statements that made me think deeper. Realizing that I am in need of Saviour.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16″

Growing up in a Christian home is sometimes a plus factor for mostly kids, in the sense that they grow up hearing and learning about the word of God and the principles of a Christian life. On the other hand not all children that grow up in a Christian home have that kind of positive influence. Sometimes they see too much hypocrisy in their parents that they loathe to be like their parents when they grow up. The result is that they ended up hating religion because of the bad experience they had in their home.

People sometimes  think that if you come from a Christian family you are considered godly and they expected you to be a good kid. But let me tell you this. I don’t want to point fingers to anybody for what I am writing is just a sermon to myself. And I want to share this inspiring messages that I have found,  hoping that this will bring encouragement to one another.

I grew up in a Christian home. And I gave credit to my parents for teaching me and my two brothers the morals in life and most of all the spiritual aspects in life. They were like other parents,  not perfect, but they’ve done  their very  best as my earthly  parents. They had done their part! For some reason the gospel that my parents have shared with me never penetrated in my life. I grew up cloaked in an outward goodness! I really wanted to be a good kid but my heart was just evil. I were inclined in choosing wrong choices. But people praise me for being good. But now that I am grown up, and when I looked back to my past,  I considered myself  deceitful. I remembered my mother telling us stories straight from the bible because I grew up in a very simple, poor home.

We had a set of “My Bible Friends” but my mom really wants to tell us stories using the bible. Those were good memories that I really treasured a lot.  We always had morning and evening worships but hated it because they were very long (my dad preaching most of the time plus those long prayers). And when we go to church my two brothers and I,  had to sit down between my mom and dad. We weren’t allowed to sit down with friends or even in the back pew. Every time we turn and talk to the person behind us, my dad would reprimand us. We can’t do this and do that. Long sermons and prayers. Every thing was like a boring thing that I started looking outside the fence of Christianity because,  I didn’t get the point of having a true relationship with my personal Saviour where love is the key. Despite every thing I still wanted to be good and just don’t know how. The good that I know is to make sure if you do bad nobody sees and you’re not being caught! Following Christ for me was like a boring thing. I got baptized because of peer pressure (my brother and my friend and cousin was baptized so I wanted too). But I don’t really understand what it is to be a Christian.

Many times in my life God brought me to a wilderness experience but still I didn’t get it. I thought I am good and that is what people see in me. But God is good, He doesn’t want me to be dumb and ignorant. He allowed wolves in my life that help me seek Him.

For almost seven years of doing God’s work I asked myself why I am doing this? Is there something that can benefit my soul? I envy people dying for their faith. Here I am, a very frail and weakling follower of Christ. I was doing His work but I still feel empty inside. Somehow something is not really connecting to the real source of  satisfaction and strength. Then I started getting hungry for God’s words. I searched, read, and studied the bible and the spirit of prophecy and then I slowly found answers to my thirsting soul.

“Psalm  63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;  107:5-9 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses; And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart will I give you a and new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony hear out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:25-26

I grew up misunderstanding the true meaning of Christianity. I thought that if I go to church, pay my tithes and offerings, and do good, it is already an assurance that I will be saved. Let us look at the dictionary and see what it means.

American English Dicitonary: n. a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and His teachings.
Old 1828 Noah Dictionary: n. A believer in the religion of Christ, a professor of His belief in the religion of Christ, a real disciple of Christ; one who believes in the truth of the Christian religion, studies to follow the example, and obey the precepts, of Christ; a believer in Christ who is characterized by real piety. In a general sense, the word Christian includes all who are born in a christian country or a christian parents.
Wow…  this is a serious topic! Summing up everything, it’s very clear that Christianity pertains to Christ. It’s taught by Him, through His examples and receive Him as our personal Saviour and that includes His doctrines and principles too. Now wait a minute why do not we go back to its definition. It says, a Christian is a believer! Which means a person who believes in Christ! Now how can you believe if you don’t know Christ? A child trust and believes his parents because he knew they love him.  He was clothed, fed and cared for since the time he was born. Right?
Another  definition states, “a PROFESSor on the religion of Christ’ belief’.  Isn’t this something to think about? And then the next definition says “Christian is one that studies to follow the examples and obey the precepts of Christ.” All of these are not even fitting into my carnal mind. I call myself a Christian but I don’t even possess these? Oooppsss…. am I in the right track? I call a lot of people hypocrites but how many fingers do point to myself? I do my own will and don’t submit to His will and trust my own choices rather than His. And the most shocking thing here is that I am not even professor on Christ religion because I don’t profess Christ in my life. If people look at me when I am angry they won’t see Christ but the image of the enemy. Another thing, in the past I don’t even try to study His word in order to know more about Him. I thought  I was rich in goods and needed nothing as what Revelation 3:17 describes! So how can I know Him, believe Him, be taught by Him and profess Him as my God? Following Christ and to obey Him is really an impossibility!
I got tired of being a roller coaster christian! I made a decision to  be serious in my  studying  these past few years and now I could clearly visualize what it  is to be a Christian. I believed that if we are sincere in our desires to know more about Him, He will really guide us in the right path. Proverbs 3:5-6 “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
The more I study Gods words the more I see myself shrinking. I though at first that I can really make it through my own efforts to change into Christ’s image but the more I depend on myself the more I fail and see myself hopeless in every trial I encounter. I cried every time I failed and pleaded for His mercy. Here are quotes that I loved that might bring light to your soul;
“Often the question arises, Why, then, are there so many, claiming to believe God’s word, in whom there not seen a reformation in words, in spirit, and in character? Why are there so many who cannot bear opposition to their purposes and plans, who manifest an unholy temper, and whose words are harsh, overbearing, and passionate? There is seen in their lives the same love of self, the same selfish indulgence, the same temper and hasty speech, that is seen in the life of the worldling. There is the same sensitive pride, the same yielding to natural inclination, the same perversity of character, as if the truth were wholly unknown to them. THE REASON is that they are NOT CONVERTED. They have not hidden the leaven of truth in the heart. It has not had opportunity to do its work. Their natural and cultivated tendencies to evil have not been submitted to its transforming power. Their lives reveal the absence of the grace of Christ, an unbelief in His power to transform the character. COL 99.1” 
“Many young men are sent forth to labor who do not understand the plan of salvation and what true conversion is; in fact they need to be converted. We need to be enlightened on this point, and the ministers need to be educated to dwell more particularly upon the subjects which explain true conversion. All who are baptized are to give evidence that they have been converted. (FW 18.1)
 It is hard to admit that I am not totally converted! Because if I am, Christ character will be seen in me. I want to argue with this above statement. But no matter how I reasoned to myself I still ended up saying “ it is TRUE.  No matter how we want to change, our hearts are really evil. I don’t know with yours but mine is really evil. I felt ashamed for bearing that name (Christian) for a long time and probably was a stumbling block to some people who haven’t known Christ.
“Satan leads people to think that because they have felt a rapture of feeling they are converted. But their experience does not change. Their actions are the same as before. Their lives show no good fruit. They pray often and long and are constantly referring to the feelings they had at such and such a time. But they do not live the new life. They are deceived. Their experience goes no deeper than feeling. They build upon the sand, and when adverse winds come their house is swept away. MYP 71.3
 We aren’t truly converted and we are not suppose to call ourselves Christians. For when true conversion takes place in a person life, total transformation of His/her character could be an evidence. CHRISTLIKENESS is seen. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight but it is a daily basis clinging to His words, spending more quality time with Him. Meditating on His words. 
Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17. The scripture are the great agency in the transformation of character. Christ prayed, “Sanctify them through THY truth; Thy word is truth. John 17:17. If studies and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in body, soul, and spirit to His own image. Then God can use us to do His will. The power given us works from within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the truth that has been communicated to us. COL 100.1
Learning from Christ is not just an on and off program but it is considered for me a major subject of my day that if I fail to contemplate on His word, everything really fails and I have experienced that all the time. It is like the more preparation and studying that I have done for that day, the more test allowed in my life. And to be honest with you, I always flunk in my test. And it just made me look to myself that my works are just a failure that I need an extra power from above to fight these battles in life. 
If we would become Christlike, we must study Christ’s character. . . . It is necessary that we should closely examine ourselves, and enquire, “Is this Christ’s way? Would Christ pursue this course of action? What kind of an impression am I leaving upon the minds of those with whom I am connected? Shall I pursue a course of action that will weaken the confidence of anyone with whom I deal and cause them to think lightly of the Christianity that I profess? Shall I be uncourteous, un-Christlike, unmerciful toward the purchase of the blood of Christ?”  {UL 66.3}
 If we study God’s word everyday and contemplate in His goodness and love towards us, not even allowing our minds to be separated from Him can avoid us more messes in life. And by constantly beholding we will be change into His image then, we can be PROFESSors of Christ. And people will see our Christlike character. To know Christ is to practice His words.
” John 17:3 says : And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
To know Christ ravingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practice His words. Without this all else is valueless 5BC 1145.11To do what is right in God’s eyes is hard to do but when love to our Saviour springs up doing what is pleasing in His eyes is just that easy. We can’t change ourselves but Christ alone can help us and give us the victory. Lets allow Him to dwell in our hearts 24/7. He is a living  water, we can’t live without it. So is Christ without Him we can’t do nothing and our souls will perish. Our efforts will just be in vain. 
 
Ecclesiastes  11:9   “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these [things] God will bring thee into judgment.
“ 1 Kings 2:3 “And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
 Joshua 22:5 “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
 “We must give evidence of a spiritual relationship to God, in all our ways acknowledging Him. Others will be able to detect whether we make ourselves a center or whether we regard Christ as all in all. When we have the fear of the Lord ever before us, our experience will not be tame and spiritless. Christ formed within will be the hope of glory.  {BTS, January 1, 1908 par. 2}
 “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths We have an abundance of sermonizing. What is most needed . . . is love for perishing souls, that love which comes in rich currents from the throne of God. True Christianity diffuses love through the whole being. It touches every vital part, the brain, the heart, the helping hands, the feet, enabling men to stand firmly where God requires them to stand, so that they will not make crooked paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. The burning, consuming love of Christ for perishing souls is the life of the whole system of Christianity.  {LHU 134.2}
 I love this quote
The standard of the golden rule is the true standard of Christianity. Anything short of it is a deception.”  {GCB, July 1, 1900 par. 9}  Let us all remember this “Jesus took upon Himself man’s nature, that He might leave a pattern for humanity, complete, perfect. He proposes to make us like Himself, true in every purpose, feeling, and thought–true in heart, soul, and life. This is Christianity. Our fallen nature must be purified, ennobled, consecrated by obedience to the truth. Christian faith will never harmonize with worldly principles; Christian integrity is opposed to all deception and pretense. The man who cherishes the most of Christ’s love in the soul, who reflects the Saviour’s image most perfectly, is in the sight of God the truest, most noble, most honorable man upon the earth.  {5T 235.3}
 Our Christian walk is a day by day experience. Christlike character must be seen in us! And it is not just an on and off connection but a steady one. Lets get tired of being a christian just by name. Let’s strive and pray for one another that somehow we will enter into the joy of becoming a real Christian and that is through the help of the Holy Spirit. We are all supposed to be heavenward bound and that is God’s will. The choice is ours either to remain in the wicked world that soon will be burned or we will choose to be with our Redeemer who is more rightful with us because He redeemed us by His blood?  If I were you, I would encourage you to choose heaven. Where else would we want to go? There is no better option here on earth! Remember what Peter said “John 6:68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” Lets get busy right now! Not tomorrow, but today to prepare ourselves and help others get ready and know that He is coming soon to take us home.

Though I Walk Through the Valley of Death

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This is my family’s favorite song in the mission field.  It is a very comforting song that our hearts have to thank the Lord for leaving to us this promise. I want to share to you some of our experiences in the field.

Sometimes fear rules my heart that I could hardly breath. But then a still small voice reminds me that I have nothing to fear because we are doing God’s work and He has left a promise to us in Matthew that even unto the end of the world He will be with us. That verse also gives me comfort and assurance.

One time we were heading down to the city to get our weekly food. The mission post has nothing that we need to go down once in awhile in order to get provisions for the week. While heading down we were held for almost five hours by armed people. There were almost 300 hundred other civilians that were held too. And when one of the armed men gave us an order to drop if we hear gun shots, I started trembling. I have never been in a situation like that. That death was already in my mind. I thought of our kids back in the Mission Post that if we die that day we will never see them that I cried while we were assisted to join the group of civilians that were also being held. But then I remembered the Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 that my fear was gone. I prayed that if ever it will be the end of our lives, the Lord will guide our children on the path to finish the work that the Lord has entrusted to us. The time we were released, it was already getting dark and that we still need to go back to the Mission Post. The road was so ugly that we need to slow down in order to avoid wreck. After what happened you can never expect travellers. It was so quite that even when we were riding on a motorcycle we could just hear our heavy breaths and the sound of the crickets. And then I remembered the Psalm 23 song so I initiated singing and my husband joined my singing. We arrived safely at the Post and praise God for His travelling mercies.

A month after the event, we visited one of the informal schools the Lord has entrusted us. Since the villages where we have post are so remote, it can’t be avoided that we need to pass on roads that don’t have houses, just forest trees so it is really scary but singing out loud God’s promises gives us comfort. In fact an hour and a half after passing on one of the places, a war happened  between the military and the opposite side of the governemt and again the Lord kept us away from that death bed.

Several times, we were kept from the death valley and we were so thankful to our Almighty Father for giving us more time to finish His work that He had entrusted to us.

 

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” Isaiah 40:29

 

I have a favorite quote from this book entitled “The Faith I Lived By” it says “A bed of pain is a precious place when we have the presence of Jesus. When we are obliged to drink of the bitter waters, turn away from the bitter to the precious and the bright. In trial grace can give the human soul assurance, and when we stand at the deathbed and see how the Christian can bear suffering and go through the valley of death, we gather strength…and we fail not, neither are we discouraged in leading souls to Jesus. FLB 186.4″ This makes our Christian walk more colorful if we can taste of the bitter cup though the experiences we have is far bitter than the experiences of other Christians and Jesus Himself while He was on earth. Still it gives us strength to move on to the next page in spreading the goodnews to everyone that is in hunger and thirst.

Here’s a poem I want to share to everybody especially if you are doing the Lord’s service. This will give you comfort and courage to continue in your work despite the difficulties and trials.

“We may sleep, but not forever; There will be a glorious dawn; We shall meet to part, no, never, On the resurrection morn. From the deepest caves of ocean, From the desert and the plain, From the Valley and the mountain, Countless throngs shall rise

again.” LS 479.3)

Soon we will all be faced with death valleys. Remember we aren’t alone for our Saviour is always with us even unto the end of the world. We may be dead for His name sake but the hope of being resurrected on His second coming is another morning to those that die in Christ.

Happy Are Those

      Studying the “Mount of Beautitudes” really gives me more understanding about our Christian walk here on earth. As human beings we are full of earthly ambitions and we think that our going to church, giving of offerings, doing good works regularly is already enough in order to inherit eternal life.
     As I study this week about the beautitudes I looked at myself as a failing Christian that is in need of a Saviour. Growing up in a church that teaches the bible isn’t enough. I realized that we need to live according to what we preach and share our knowledge to the people through our characters that reflects Christ to those who don’t know Him. Sometimes we talk too much about Christ but they are just up to words without realizing that our actions don’t show what we share to them and it is a shame. We are no different than the Pharisees in the old times where there were too many rules and laws but their hearts were not right with God. The Pharisees were even better than we are because they strictly followed and obeyed the laws though their hearts were possessed with the devil. We share something that don’t even reflect our characters. What a huge contrast!
      Christ longs to bless us in order for us to inherit eternal life but we need to be poor in spirit which is very hard to do without His help. How can we be poor in spirit if we always feel we are better than others. It is very common for us to feel that others need the change and not us.In my daily walk as doing God’s commission for me and Mike, I kept praying that somehow the FAther would teach me lessons of life where I could be fitted in His Heavenly Kingdom. But it is so difficult. Everytime I read His words and reproofs I automatically think of other’s short comings. Instead of reproving myself for my weaknesses, my old ugly self rejects it and then the parable of the pharisee and the republican rings into my ears and reminds me that I am not better than the Pharisee.
      One Sabbath ago we went to Mimpakiki to worship with the Hegaonon people The roads were rugged, bumpy and slippery that Mike needed to be extra careful or we will all fall on the ditch or on the steep hill. One thing I have noticed on our trip was that Anthony (bible worker) always choose to pass on the bumpy side of the path and not on the smooth looking road. And for me it doesn’t make sense because it took a lot of effort for him to go up the hill because the side is bushy and in my own naked eyes it seemed impossible for him to get through the other side. Then I asked him why? He explained to me that if he choose to pass on that smooth-looking path there is danger because it is so slippery and if he falls, there is a tendency of falling on those huge rocks and break his legs, ankles, or the worse thing if his head would hit on the rock. After hearing his explanation everytime we travel in those ruged terrains his choices of where to go makes sense to me. Relating it to my Christian walk, the road or the path that leads to destruction seemed smooth and good looking that sometimes we as Christians think that if we are not being persecuted, no trials and tribulations, we think we are right with God. For Christ said He permits trials and afflictions, because it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10 “The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace. (MB 10.3)
      On our trip to Mimpakiki, my legs and buttoms were so sore that I could bearly get off from the motorcycle. My knees were trembling as I got off and my shoulders and neck were sore too. I just wanna crush and stop the motorcycle and lay on the side of the road. It seemed like my body was shutting down. I wanna cry and complain but I was reminded of Christ’ suffering on the cross. He suffered more than we do. Our sacrifices are not even more than He suffered when on earth. And as we follow Christ, we are like taking His yoke.I asked myself how can I be prepared for the coming worse if in times like this I complain? What a shame? Instead, I opened my mouth with thanksgiving in my heart. Walking with Christ is a joy. He reproves you and makes you realize that we are all in need of a Him and not to trust in our our works.
      Today, we went to Sebantang to encourage the bible workers and the new converts. On our way to the mountain a wasp bit me on my nose. It was so painful that I cried. But I prayed to our Heavenly Father that somehow He will remove the pain on my nose and not let the bitten part swell, accordingly to His will. The road was ugly and rugged and I was in pain with my insides maybe because I had been in the rugged roads like everyday. lol When we arrived in the place the bible workers asked me to give and inspirational talk during the Sabbath School program and by God’s help, He gave me the right words to share. During the divine worship they asked Mike to speak but that morning I told my husband that if they would ask me to speak I will share with the mount of blessings and forgot about what I told him. So when they asked Mike, He told them that I will be the one to speak. I don’t want to speak anymore because I am not a gifted speaker and I am like Aaron I stummer when in front of everybody. But it seemed like God wants me to speak so I accepted the challenge. I have no confidence in myself so I asked the Lord to give me the right words to speak. What I did was share what I have studied about the “mount of blessings”. Everything went well by God’s help and it was the job of the Holy Spirit to make them have more understanding. My job was to share with them about Christ and the Holy Spirit will do her part.
      It was a difficult experience but there is joy in serving others especially when you see the people hungering and thirsting for truth. I shared with them that if we follow Christ, we will partake of His sacrifices, afflictions, pains, sufferings, etc. And in order for us to be ready for that, we need to be like Him and kill the old self so He can work in our hearts and transform us. I have a quote to share with you in the mount of blessings that says
“The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace. Jesus emptied Himself, and in all that He did, self did not appear. He subordinated all things to the will of His Father. When His mission on earth was about to close, He could say, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4. And He bids us, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself” (Matthew 11:29; 16:24); let self be dethroned and no longer hold the supremacy of the soul.  {MB 14.3}  
 Far better would it be for us to suffer under false accusation than to inflict upon ourselves the torture of retaliation upon our enemies. The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan, and can bring only evil to him who cherishes it. Lowliness of heart, that meekness which is the fruit of abiding in Christ, is the true secret of blessing. “He will beautify the meek with salvation.” Psalm 149:4. {MB 17.1}
      To change our ownselves is impossible. The roads we are trodding seemed long and weary but let us remember that we are not alone. If we abide in Him and do the will of our Heavenly Father, He will be with us even unto the end of the world (Matt 28:18-20) Let us pray to our Heavenly Father that we will be partakers of His suffering and that through Him we may be transformed and draw men into His Kingdom.

Comfort Zones

Leaving our comfort zones is the hardest part to do in a person’s life. We may be good in encouraging people to leave their comfort zones but to be in a real situation is not an easy story. As I read the experienced of the Israelites in the ancient times that they met a lot of difficulties, made me realized that they really have been through a lot of failures and yet they haven’t learned anything.  While they were in Egypt they beg to the Father for their freedom from slavery among the Egyptians. And then, when they were set free from their slavery they were just happy for awhile. If you read the whole story they were full of complaints and murmuring when met by trials and difficulties and  blamed Moses their leader for bringing them out of Egypt!  They knew that it was God who led them to the wilderness due to their unbelief. But the most interesting part was that the Lord allowed or permited circumstances on their way for them to learn more and have more faith in Him. In other words to be more dependent on Him than being so confident on themselves. But as humans we tend to murmur and complain instead of thanking the Father and praising Him for His goodness. He is a God of love and care. He won’t leave us destitute. But our unbelief is the issue here. We step out from our comfort zones and presumes that the Lord will give us another comfort zones. We may or may not stand or pass the test because our will is not fully surrendered to Him.

I want to share with your our experiences in the past few weeks and may you all be blessed! While on our way to the Philippines, I was feeling homesick. There were a lot of worries and questions in my mind but I tried my very best to not utter a single complain to our redeemer. The questions I had in my mind were “Would there be a “safe place” for my family?” “What if we’ll all get sick again like the last time we came?” etc…Unnecessary questions that if I were a God I would just smile for the unbelief my creation had showed. On our arrival on Cebu one of the custom officers warned us to prepare a lot of money to pay for our valuable stuff. I was kind of worried “a little bit” but a still small voice told me “don’t worry your Father is rich!”. So, I answered the officer “Oh, don’t worry our Heavenly Father is rich! He’ll take care of that!” And the officer looked at me like I was crazy! While were lining up the couple in front of us were searched on their luggages by a lady officer. I started feeling nervous and Mike told me to prepare money because all in all we had three full airport cart loads! But when it was our turn, the man behind the lady officer went forward and took our list of valuebles! He read it and looked at our stuffs and asked me “Is that your husband?” and I nodded “Yes!” then he gave us a sign to move out of the line like everything is done just by one glance of our stuffs! I was so overjoyed and thank the Lord for that! Then the officer who warned me to prepare money asked me “How much did you pay?” I answered “Nothing” He looked at me like I was kidding! I gave him a confirmation telling him that our Heavenly Father took care of that already and I praised Him more for that! We checked our instruments especially the harp and everything was perfect. Praise God for His goodness that endures forever!

The following day we were not able to buy a ticket because they temporarily stop issuing tickets due to the typhoon and there were like more or less 30,000 stranded passengers. We felt bad about it but still thank God for His loving care and protection!
Upon arriving here in Gingoog, we felt so frustrated because the house where we are renting is too close to the neigborhoods and we can’t breath fresh air. We even wont be seen by the sun because everything was covered! I wanted to complain but I shut my mouth and still thank the Lord for providing us a place.
We spent our first Sabbath in one of the villages where we have a church. We were met by a heavy rain and the roads were slippery and muddy which made our travelling longer. But we were happy because when we arrived in the area the brethren in the village were happy to see us. Since Mike wasn’t prepared for a sermon, I was the one who took his place and I gave them a short message about spreading the gospel throughout the world and that we don’t need to worry because God has a promise to be always with us even unto the end of the world! Some of the women shared their testimonies that it was very hard for them to worship God because they don’t know how to read and write and since the bible workers that were assigned in their place moved, they really struggled because the ones left are illiterate. But one thing she shared that inspired me was that they continued to worship God with their simple supplications and singing through memory! They requested to have a woman teacher to teach them how to read and write and they were hoping that somehow a bible worker will also be assigned in their place again. She told us that there is a big difference since she knew Christ. In fact she shared with us that the Lord had done a lot of miracles to her family. Like when her son fell down from a tree and broke his leg! She said the doctor told her that her son will not be able to walk for awhile but God healed her son and was able to walk after a month was over. And another story she shared was when her other son was burned severely because he fell on a burning coal of coconut shells. (Their way of surviving is to make charcoal out of coconut shells.) Since she had no money to bring her son to the hospital she just prayed and did her very best in easing her son’s pain by using natural remedy, and it worked! After two weeks her son was healed and there were no infections that made the healing process faster. She thanked the Lord for all the kindness He’d given to her family and to the village.
Experiences like these inspired us a lot! God works in different ways that make people realized! After the service, we went home and it took us several hours to reach the national high way because Mike’s clutch lining burned and the motorcycle had no power so he need to drag and pull the motorcycle. The road was slippery and muddy that Mike had fallen unto the ground several times. In the evening he told me “Honey, now I know how hard it was for the bible workers to be working in this place. I felt their sacrifice and yet it is worthy because God loves these people!”
The heavy rain everyday is so depressing, and our butts and whole body is soar from the rough riding everytime we visit villages and look for possible lands for sale up in the mountain, but still I thank God for His love and mercies! I am asking for your prayers that somehow we’ll find a good land to start the mission post. We’ve been praying that somehow the Lord will guide us to the land He’d prepared for us. We are eager to start the mission post.
Here is a bible text that I want to share with you. It is  found in Isaiah 41:10 that says “Fear thou not for I am with thee. Be not dismayed for I am thy God! I will strengthened thee ye I will help thee. I will uphold thee with thy right hand of my righteousness! Keep us in your prayers! The road we are troading for now seemed difficult but we know that there is nothing to fear because God is with us as long as we abide in Him. We don’t need be desmayed because our Heavenly Father knows everything in us and He wants what’s best for each one of us and that is our God! He will strengthen us and help us every step of the way! We just need to put all our cares, worries, etc.. on Him and He will uphold us and put His righteousness on us if we let Him and submit our will on Him!
May God’s blessing be upon us all!

Idaho

One of Elk City’s beautiful lake “WILD HORSE LAKE”

Shooting Stars

“To leave no chance for unbelief, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation of His words, the Lord repeats the thrice-given promise. He longs to have those who would seek after God believe in Him who is able to do all things. Therefore He adds, “For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  {MB 130.1} “

This quote has bothered me  this past few days for some reason as I have been struggling in the thought of getting rid of the extra stuff in my life in order to be ready whenever He calls me. The spirit is willing to answer His call but the carnal flesh is struggling to go that direction. I’ve been asking the Lord,  “Is this really your will for my family to go overseas and do God’s work. I have this question in my mind, “Lord are you really wanting us to go or this is just a misunderstanding? I want to know  and  be assured that you are with us!”  Many scary thoughts came to my mind which I know is not from the Lord because He is not the author of fear! I continued  praying over and over about this struggles I have been in my life. The struggle of being humbled, living simple, and just fully depending on our Him! A lot of thoughts came to my mind like “What if it’s not His will? What if it’s a presumption?” These questions wore me out.

Until one night I was laying down outside our house with my son watching the beautiful stars that our Creator has created I begged the Lord for an assurance! I prayed, “Lord I am thankful you are really there and although I know that you are, can you assure me 100% that you are into this decision of us going to the Philippines?” Since I was a child I had only seen a shooting star once and it never did happen again. I asked the Lord “please show me seven shooting stars tonight then I will be happy and will believe that you are a 100% guiding us in this decicion. I watched until almost midnight and it was so awesome, all in all there were 6 shooting stars that I’ve seen and I didn’t wait for the seventh one! I was not so happy thinking that I haven’t seen seven but at least I saw six and I went to sleep. Mike told me that if I waited longer I could have seen the seventh one.

When I woke up the following day everything seemed half empty in my life but I still praised the Lord for a wonderful time I had with Him last night just by watching the stars and the shooting stars. I wanted to be convinced a hundred percent that this is His leading in my life! But  after opening the EGW site I found this quote ”

“The Lord specifies no conditions except that you hunger for His mercy, desire His counsel, and long for His love. “Ask.” The asking, makes it manifest that you realize your necessity; and if you ask in faith you will receive. The Lord has pledged His word, and it cannot fail. If you come with true contrition you need not feel that you are presumptuous in asking for what the Lord has promised. When you ask for the blessings you need, that you may perfect a character after Christ’s likeness, the Lord assures you that you are asking according to a promise that will be verified. That you feel and know you are a sinner is sufficient ground for asking for His mercy and 
compassion. The condition upon which you may come to God is not that you shall be holy, but that you desire Him to cleanse you from all sin and purify you from all iniquity. The argument that we may plead now and ever is our great need, our utterly helpless state, that makes Him and His redeeming power a necessity.  {MB 130.2} ” 

After reading this, I remembered a couple years ago that I have been pleading to Him for help that somehow I will fully  love  Him (our Saviour) so that  when He ask me to do something for Him it would be easier for me to obey and answer His call. I want to be like Him and being like Him is the hardest thing to do on planet earth. The only way to develop a love on a person is to know Him!  I have been asking help from Him because my following Him seemed empty and is like a formal religion kind of thing and I am not satisfied with it! I want a real relationship with Him! And by reading this quote it opened my eyes! He knows me and what’s best for me that the only way to know Him is to serve others and be a humble servant to those people that are seeking for the Gospel. My asking of help from Him is not an easy matter for me, being that I have selfish in spirit. Living in a comfortable country is not an option to know more about Him  and fall in love with Him! Take note with the next paragraph of the Mount of Blessings.

“Seek.” Desire not merely His blessing, but Himself. “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.” Job 22:21. Seek, and you shall find. God is seeking you, and the very desire you feel to come to Him is but the drawing of His Spirit. Yield to that drawing. Christ is pleading the cause of the tempted, the erring, and the faithless. He is seeking to lift them into companionship with Himself. “If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee.” 1 Chronicles 28:9.  {MB 131.1}  

As  humans we always come to Him when we ask for blessings. We don’t come to Him because we want a good relationship with Him it is like an “always-asking-basis and not a give-and-take! I am so familiar with that because I was like that before! I seek Him when I am sad, and I needed something. What a wrong reason in coming to Him and I don’t think that makes Him happy. When I was in the Philippines, I didn’t really like people that  just came to our house and were being nice to us when they needed   something, but if they didn’t need something they acted as if they didn’t  know me, and I am doing the same thing to my Heavenly Father! What a
shame. He says in the Mount of Blessings….

“Knock.” We come to God by special invitation, and He waits to welcome us to His audience chamber. The first disciples who followed Jesus were not satisfied with a hurried conversation with Him by the way; they said, “Rabbi, . . . where dwellest Thou? . . . They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day.” John 1:38, 39. So we may be admitted into closest intimacy and communion with God. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1. Let those who desire the blessing of God knock and wait at the door of mercy with firm assurance, saying, For Thou, O Lord, hast said, “Everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  {MB 131.2} 

After reading these quotes from the Mount of Blessings I felt so assured that as long as you do His work it may be here or overseas His protections will always be there! And I should not be afraid or worry because He has promises in the bible  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matt. 28:19 & 20 What an assurance that I don’t need proofs! I don’t even need to see shooting stars to feel His presence because it is already there in the bible, printed for a reason for us to claim when we do His work. My prayer is that somehow we will all be willing to answer God’s call no matter how hard it is. Our daily prayer should be “Father, help me to be willing to do your will”.


Gratitude

Saysay enjoying the beauty of God’s creation

Our Heavenly Father always blesses us but we as humans see it in a different way. The things we thought we needed and wanted in our lives when provided to us, we call it blessings. The question is, are those blessings from Him or from our enemy the devil?

I grew up  a Seventh-day Adventist my whole life and I was being taught that all the good things that I receive and has happened in my life are considered  as blessings which is true in some point and the bad things that happened in my life like trials, misfortunes, misery, etc. are curses. I grew up having that kind of understanding that every time I see people that are suffering from misfurtunes, misery, and hardships I judged them for being cursed by God. That isn’t really the real picture of loving Father who cares for His children!

When my life started having ups and  downs I thought that the Lord has forsaken me and that I am being cursed for all the bad choices I’ve made. I complained a lot and thank the Lord less, not considering the tiny bit of blessings that the Lord has put on my path for I was too busy counting my troubles and difficulties that the blessings He has given me were unoticed. It isn’t fair for our Heavenly Father to be treated that way! I made my own decisions, never ask Him for His will in my life and now that I am suffering I am blaming Him? That is kind of a mess up thinking!

But as  I grew up  spiritually my view of God’s blessing was changed. There are things in our lives that we should be thankful for everyday. It may be the bad and the good if we believe in “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) One of the reasons why I am so thankful for (no matter what I am in) is my relationship to our Saviour, for me it is a blessing that nobody can take it away from me! Just knowing that He is always there for me, in my pain, happiness, grief, etc. is enough that I should show gratitude towards my Creator. Second, I am so thankful to the Lord for the things He has given me although sometimes I wished for things that I don’t have but I have full confidence that the things He has given me are for the benefit of my spiritual growth.

Looking back on how ungrateful I was makes me ashamed to our Heavenly Father. I want to relate to you one of my ungrateful experiences. Sometimes the Lord allows things to happen in our lives or allows  us to be put on a worse situation so we will learn the lessons we need to learn. A couple of years ago, when the Lord gave us a car, (the one we are using now for our daily use) we were so thankful and happy, but when our youngest son arrived in our lives I started  wanting a bigger vehicle although we already have a comfortable one.  What we have is a five sitter car and though we felt comfortable with it, still I told the Lord that I need a bigger one! I kept saying that and I didn’t know how our Heavenly Father felt about it. Until one day the car broke and we can’t use it until its fixed! We have no money to have it fixed! We asked help from the Jesus for Asia Inc. because we are one of their projects and besides the car was registered under the Inc., (I thought that was a huge blessing). They said they will help and just bring the car to the mechanic and see what was the problem. Since we don’t have any vehicle to use I then remembered my murmurings for not having a bigger vehicle and I apologized for that!  The President of the Jesus for Asia Inc. Jon Wood  told us to use the extra vehicle of his mom and dad while waiting for the car to be fixed, and he let us know  that his parent’s car’s aircondition is no longer working because it is an old car! It is very difficult to live in a small county without a vehicle especially if you live way up in the mountain! So we were so thankful that  the Lord has helped us by impressing Jon to lett us borrow his parent’s  car. Now when it happened it was summer time in Idaho and the temperature at that time was 99-109 degrees F. I cried when we went to the city because the heat was just too much for me and the kids were all quite and they looked dying. I complained again but I remembered how ungrateful I was for the things the Lord has provided us so I shut my mouth and tried to utter words of contentment dispite the discomfort we felt at that time.  I told the Lord “I am sorry for complaining! I should just be happy of what I have! Please give us back  the car you let us use Father I will no longer complain!”

Instances like that sometimes make us realize that whatever we have we must be thankful to the Lord. If we look around there are people that are less fortunate than we are. The worse thing is that aside from having nothing at all, and they don’t even have a God to trust that some of them ended their lives!

Nature speaks  itself of the blessings we have around! The fresh air we breath, the water we drink, the good food we eat, the comfortable  houses we live in, etc.. Come on let’s count His blessings, they are too many to count! We are so blessed!

There was a quote I love that says “It is not only in peace and safety that we should be thankful to the Lord but also in the middle of a great storm.” Everything that happens in our lives if we abide in Christ is for a reason that we must really thank our Heavenly Father. Trials and tribulations are also a blessing that if we handle things with gratitude in our hearts it will turn out to be a blessing!  Our Heavenly Father won’t allow them to come in our lives if not for the benefit of our spiritual growth! We may think it as negative thing in life but lets look at it in a positive way! If we endure them through God’s help, it will strengthen us and will reap good results!

God’s Call

Micaiah praying because he was scared of the sound of the coyotes!

I always have headaches dealing with my kids when they disobey. I asked myself “why can’t they just trust me and obey without questioning?” A question I always ask every time I doubt God’s plan for my life. I think I know better than God. Comparing myself to my kids, I am sometimes not much different.

Pondering on the question why I do that, is it because I don’t know Him and love Him?  Although the scripture clearly speaks that it is our commission to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matt. 28:19-20. I don’t know Him well that it is hard for me to  love and obey Him. I spent many nights thinking about my relationship with our Saviour. I envy people doing God’s work that they don’t care putting their lives in the line just for the sake of those that haven’t known God. Why I can’t do the same thing? Why it is easy to answer God’s call if I know the place is safe and I have a double for that work? Am I being fair? Until I discovered the root of all this doubts. We always say “I love you Jesus” but is it really the truth? Is our knowledge about Him enough that our relationship with Him is develope into love that when He commands us to do His will we are one hundred percent willing because we trusted Him. It is the same as loving somebody we do the very best we can to please that person! We would even cross the ocean risking our lives just to see the person and make him/her please of our appearance!

I want to share with you quotes from the Patriarchs and Prophets where we can find unquestioning obedience of Abraham.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11:8. Abraham’s unquestioning obedience is one of the most striking evidences of faith to be found in all the Bible. To him, faith was “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 Relying upon the divine promise, without the least outward assurance of its fulfillment, he abandoned home and kindred and native land, and went forth, he knew not wither, to follow where God should lead. “By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” Hebrews 11:9 PP p. 126

Reading this paragraph made me question how far will I question God everytime He ask me to do His work? ” Why is it so hard for me to say yes when He calls me? In Abraham’s case if you read the whole story the test wasn’t easy! He was asked to leave his native land not even knowing where to go because He was just relying on God’s guidance! He showed full confidence and trust to the Heavenly Father.

Do we know Him that much that when He calls us we can discern His voice and obey without question? When Mike and I were called to do a work of reaching the unreach in my island the Philippines I wasn’t so convince with that. I told the Lord that I would probably do the work He wants me to do as long as it would be in another country. My country is not so appealing especially in the mountain areas. And besides I don’t want to be humbled by living in this rugged mountains, with the mountain people. I love my comforts and to be uncomfortable is the least thought in mind. Why bother do God’s work in life threatening areas? I asked “why not in the coast?  And by the time I arrived here in the U.S., the more persuaded I was not to go back to my own country! My husband isn’t wealthy but still we live comfortably by God’s help! I really have thought that doing God’s work is not that fun and exciting! For me to do God’s work is like in a horror movie where every scene is scary! On my first step of faith with my husband i wasn’t so convinced because I thought doing His work is feeling. When toasted by trials I complained a lot and kept murmuring like what the ancient Israelites did when they were in the wilderness! I am too selfish that our Saviour needs to teach me some lessons. I have so many questions and I really didn’t understand why?

Until I finally realized that I don’t have much knowledge of my Savior! I just know the stories in the bible that He died for me and that He loves me that I need to love Him in return. This wasn’t the whole picture He wants me to understand! There were so many nights were I really kept asking Him over and over until He finally guided me to search in the scriptures and to the spirit of prophecy. After several months of studying the sriptures and the spirit of prophecy with the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  I slowly understand that the only reason why He wants me to follow Him was that He loves me that much that He wants what’s best for me! He wants me to grow spiritually so I will be a better person! He wants me to follow Him because it is the only better path that in the future I will be happy! The happiness that I thought would gratify myself is just transient and will pass away! He longs for my friendship, my quality time, my love and my trust in Him. He loves me so much that if I  follow His footstep I will be happy! He isn’t that self centered God who loves us that wants love in return forcibly! No! He is that loving God who knows what’s best for us! He wants to pour His blessing on us and the only way to receive them is to obey Him and follow where He leads us! There is no such joy in serving others! The only reason why He called Abraham was that He has a work for Him to do!

God has a work for them to do; but a life of ease and the influence of friends and kindred would hinder the development of the very traits essential for its accomplishment. HE calls them away from human influences and aid, and leads them to feel the need of his help, and to depend upon him alone, that he may reveal himself to them!…..He who will do this has the faith of Abraham, and will share with that “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” with which ” the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared.” PP p. 127

Isn’t that wonderful that He has wonderful plans for each of us? Are we ready to be lead by our Creator? Do we know Him that much that we feel comfortable to submit our will and our entire lives to Him? If not, lets not waste our time lingering! Now is the time to ask God’s help for the Holy Spirit to be poured upon us that we may be willing to say “Yes Lord I will follow you wherever you lead me!”

The Lord in his providence had brought this trial upon Abraham to teach him lessons of submission, patience, and faith–lessons that were to be placed on record for the benefit of all who should afterward be called to endure affliction. God leads his children by a way that they now not; but he does not forget or cast off those who put their trust in him. He permitted affliction to come upon Job, but he did not forsake him. He allowed the beloved John to be exiled to lonely Patmos, but the Son of God met him there, and his vision was filled with scenes of immortal glory. God permits trials to assail his people, that by their constancy and obedience they themselves may be spiritually enriched, and that their example may be a source of strength to others. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil” Jer. 29:11 The very trials that task our faith most severely, and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are to lead us closer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at his feet, and experience the peace which he will give us in exchange! 

If we obey and follow Him there is no promise of earthly wealth but rest assured He has promised us that our needs will be supplied and He will be with us even unto the end of the world! It is a wonderful experience to obey Him and try His goodness! Doing His work may not be an easy job but there is real joy in being a part of the sufferings and sacrifices that our Saviour had been through when He was on earth! It is an honor to be His disciple! May each one of us continually seek the Lord everyday in our lives that we all will be ready to meet Him in the air and live with Him eternally! May God bless us all!